AC Propulsion, source of the technologies and/or components and systems for the Tesla Roadster and Mini-e, has now partnered with AutoPort, Inc. to develop an electric vehicle for a US Postal Service (USPS) feasibility study. Among many capabilities, AutoPort specializes in fleet conversions, so it's clear what each company brings to this endevour.
Per the press release linked below, The USPS chose this as one of five solutions in a feasibility study for the possible conversion of its 142,000 Long Life Vehicles (LLVs) to plug-in Battery Electric Vehicles.
"We are thrilled to partner with AutoPort to present a long-term solution to the US Postal Service," AC Propulsion CEO Tom Gage said. "Our solution provides the safety and performance required by the USPS, and it will reduce cost, increase efficiency, and improve driveability for the mail carriers."
With the AC Propulsion and AutoPort solution, the current USPS LLV design will be stripped of the gasoline engine, transmission and other components and refitted with the AC Propulsion AC-150 drive system, an integrated power system that includes an AC induction motor, inverter, charger and 12V power supply. AutoPort will convert the vehicle on-site at its facilities in New Castle, Delaware. The converted vehicle will comply with Guidelines for Electric Vehicle Safety SAE J2344, and all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
AC Propulsion and AutoPort's solution offers the low cost of ownership and revenue producing potential of Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology integrated into its drive system: the AC-150 is the only V2G capable drive-train worldwide. "For AutoPort, this is a landmark day in our history, to be one of the companies selected by the USPS to participate in their demonstration project involving the conversion of an LLV to an all Electric Vehicle," said Roy Kirchner, President of AutoPort. "We believe that electricity is the right fuel for the USPS delivery fleet, and by including V2G capabilities, our solution will give the lowest total cost of operation."
AC Propulsion and AutoPort's solution will be tested against the USPS's requirements at AutoPort's facilities, and then will be placed into service in the DC metro area for at least one year, where they will be monitored for carrier satisfaction, cost of operation and maintenance.
It would be interesting to know whether the other "solutions" being evaluated include natural gas, bio fuels, fuel cells or plug-in hybrid versions of any of the above. Given that the US now owns a large percentage of General Motors, you would think that they might evaluate some Voltec conversions as well.
[Source: Press Release]